This last assignment in the writing challenge presented just that; a challenge.
I spent two days trying to conjure up a possession that I owned that I would consider a treasure and could not envision a one.
What I did envision as a treasure in my life is not a possession but living, breathing souls who have come into my life over the years that without their presence, care, support and love I would have become a much different person.
Blogger Shaun Duffus, after reading my post entitled, Mixed memories of a place I lived long ago | The Delicious Divas commented, “Your experiences can either make you happy or bitter and miserable. From reading your brief bio, I get a sense that you’re mentally tough”.
Yes, I am mentally tough, but because of the people in my life I have remained a woman with soft corners, an open heart and forgiving nature.
As a young child in Brooklyn a wonderful couple came into my life and, for a few weeks each summer plucked me out of the neighborhood taking me to a place of quiet, beautiful white birch trees, fields of tiny purple and white flowers called Johnny Jump Ups and a tire swing in their back yard.
These trips to the Connecticut countryside with this wonderful couple gave me an opportunity at a very early age to see that life was not only filled run-down tenement buildings, poverty and fear.
They gave me a sense of belonging, safety and love. These summer vacations led to visits to their city home and a feeling of being part of their family. These encounters also gave me a sense of hope that if I worked hard and got a good education, I too, could better myself.
One lifelong love I gained from these wonderful people was my love of books. The room I slept in had a bookcase filled with a wonderful collection of children’s books that I read over and over. My very favorite was Heidi. Perhaps I could see myself in Heidi’s shoes even then. But the story had such a lovely ending it gave me hope that I would have a happy ending too.
Then there was the auntie who, as my mother pushed me out the backdoor of our house, opened the front door to hers and let a rebellious teenager stay until things got better at home. Her only request of me for this act of kindness was to be good, study hard and, have a forgiving heart about my mother’s on-going attempt have a better life.
I met my auntie when we moved away from the big city to a small town. As a teenager this was not a positive move. I was especially sad over the loss of a small gold ring that my mom had given me when I graduated from the eighth grade. This little ring with two tear drops had a small ruby chip in one tear drop and a diamond chip in the other. Unfortunately, my mom needed money to pay for transportation to our new home and felt it necessary to hock my ring.
This little ring was very special to me but I understood why my mom felt the move was the best for our family. But I was still very sad. My auntie learned about this and surprised me one day with a white gold filigree ring with a beautiful amethyst. This ring was a prized possession of hers. A ring that was given to her by her mother and she was passing it on to me. I was filled with joy because the amethyst was my birthstone. I loved it.
She was strict but possessed a heart so big it filled the whole house wrapping everyone in her goodness. I lived there for a year until she succumbed to the ravages of breast cancer. I have since passed on that ring to one of my girls along with this loving story. My auntie will live forever in my heart and the hearts of my children.
I saved the pawn shop ticket and when I turned eighteen and left home I returned to Brooklyn in hopes I could find my ring and get it back. A child’s dream. The pawn shop was still there but, of course, the ring was long gone. Only a trace of sadness passed across my face as I looked down at my right hand and saw the ring my auntie gave me. The sight of the ring made me happy and filled me with memories of my auntie.
Then there are the friends I have made over these many years who have offered me their hearts asking nothing in return but friendship. I have always had an issue with trust so my friendships are small in number but what I lack in numbers I have in immense caring and support.
I can be away from my friends for a long time but when we are together it is as though we were never apart.
And, then there are my children. Oh, how do I explain what these wonderful girls have given me over the years? Until I had children I was a young woman adrift and in search of who I was. I had no background in a healthy family life, no experience on how to rear children and even less in creating a good home. But, after my first daughter, Kara was born I learned to focus on someone else and started to mature and learn. My next two children, Kristine and Jennifer put exclamation marks on that growth.
I made many mistakes as the girls grew up into beautiful women but because of our love for each other their hearts overflow with wonderful memories.
Now I have four wonderful grandchildren who are my heart. Isn’t amazing how a heart can hold so many people close?
And last, but by no means least, there is the love of my life, my husband Randy who has taught me that there are truly good men in this world.
My life’s experience with men was not a positive one. The men in my early childhood were alcoholics and abusers. I could have become fearful, bitter and miserable about my relationships with men and for a time found myself struggling to find a relationship that was built on respect, trust and unconditional love.
But, eventually the glimpses I had of a better world and the beautiful people who entered my life when I needed their intervention the most kept the promise of a better life, friendship and unconditional love alive and I have been able to fight through the hard times and remain a happy person.
Writing 101: The Things We Treasure